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Regulating Temperature in Outdoor Brooder

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi!  We just bought a new property and don't have any infrastructure yet for the chickens, so I put together an outdoor brooder shelter for my 2 batches of chickies (one batch 4 weeks, and other is 3 days).  It's enclosed all the way around except one side, and my brooders slide into it (one brooder is an old parrot cage on its side, and the other is a metal battery-type brooder, just the top tier).  I have heat lamps in there and I can adjust the height somewhat with them, and have tarps over the top and to flop down and close off the open side at night.  But I'm still getting way too cool for the new babies (3 days old) at night and it's getting really hot during the days.  It's just feeling like a constant battle to keep it reasonable for the babies (the 4-weeks seem to be doing fine with the temp swings - they're mostly feathered out anyways). 


How do you guys regulate the temps in your outdoor brooders?  We're in Zone 8, so getting down in 40s at night  (could get into 30s but no more frosts) and up in the 70s or 80s during the day, might hit 90 in the next week or two. 


Thank you!!



post #2 of 4

Just as humans aren't plants, neither are chicks, and don't need to be kept at a constant temperature. When we cool down, we go stand in front of a heater, and chicks are the same. All you need to do is provide one heat source for the younger chicks to warm themselves, and the rest of their brooder cage can be any temperature at all.


It's important, though, for both age groups to be sheltered from cold drafts and wet weather. But don't worry about keeping the entire cage one constant temperature.


I just got four baby chicks a couple days ago. They're three days old today. They're outdoors in a sand run and their heat source is a heating pad cave. It's in the high 30s at night and hasn't gotten over 70F during the day. But the chicks are just fine. They duck into their cave when they need to warm up, and as the day gets warmer, they spend more time running around.


You might look into the heating pad system. It's an ideal way to warm chicks brooding them outdoors.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I was looking at that heating pad thread, and will try that. Do you just set it at one temp at bedtime, to handle the overnight lows, and then turn it down in the morning to the lowest setting, to compensate for daytime highs? I am not so worried about keeping the entire brooder at a steady temp, but with the outside temps varying from night to day, it's hard to keep even one spot within an acceptable range, without adjusting it every 4-5 hours. For first week, I'm thinking range between 85-105 degrees would be OK, or is that too wide a range?

Ty for the suggestions!
post #4 of 4

Yes, that's how it works. I have mine on the highest setting according to how cold it is. At night, I put a folded bath towel over the top to keep heat in even better if it's in the 30s. During the day, when it's up to 70, I turn it down so the chicks will not find it too hot to use. But they will warm themselves on top, also. Last May it was so cold at night, I draped a folded wool blanket over the top.


The beauty of the heating pad system is the chicks are the indicator of when to turn the setting down. They won't be using it.


Read through the first few pages and it will explain how it works and how to set it up. Also read the last few pages since new people join the thread every day and all the questions are answered again.

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